Prostate Cancer: Making a Treatment Plan
Being told that you have cancer can be scary. But most men who have prostate cancer do not die from it. A cure is not guaranteed, but treatment can often keep the cancer under control. Your healthcare team will advise a plan of treatment. This plan depends on many factors. These include your age and your general health. They include how fast the cancer is growing and if it has spread. Talk with your healthcare team about your options.
Your Healthcare Team
Many professionals will assist you in your care. They include:
A urologist. This is a doctor who treats and performs surgery on the urinary system and the male reproductive system.
A radiation oncologist. This is a doctor who treats cancer with radiation.
A medical oncologist. This is a doctor who treats cancer with medication.
A nurse practitioner. This is a person who may perform exams and manage follow-up care.
Your primary care physician. This person refers you to the right specialists. He or she also watches your general health.
Choosing the Best Treatment
Your treatment plan is based on the grade and stage of the cancer. Your healthcare team will talk with you about your options and find what is best for you. Your options may include:
Watchful waiting (active surveillance). You may not need treatment at this time. This depends on the grade and stage of the cancer. It also depends on your age and general health. Your healthcare team will watch your health. They will decide when you will need follow-up exams or biopsies. They will then schedule treatment at a later date if needed.
Treating to cure. If the cancer is detected at an early stage, the chance of full recovery is good. Low- or mid-stage cancer can be cured by removing it with surgery. Or it can be destroyed with radiation.
Treating to control. High-grade or high-stage cancer often can’t be cured. But it may be controlled. Methods for control include surgery, radiation, hormone therapy, and chemotherapy.
New Treatment Options
New treatments for prostate cancer may be available in the future. These may include new types of surgery. They may include radiation techniques or new medications. Your healthcare team can tell you if any of these might be right for you. Ask the members of your team if you could be treated as part of a clinical trial. This is a research project to study a new treatment.